This Is My Daughter: A Novel

Open Road Media
2
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A New York Times Notable Book: A luminous, deeply affecting story of divorce, remarriage, and parenthood.
 
Peter and Emma, two single parents who have found love again after failed first marriages, dream of a peaceful and happy blended family with each of their daughters under one roof. They navigate this treacherous territory with the best of intentions, but face resistance from the girls, who, like many children of divorce, find their relationships tinged by grief, anger, and resentment. Emma’s three-year-old daughter, Tess, takes to the arrangement while Amanda, Peter’s sullen and unhappy seven-year-old, views it as a disaster rather than a fresh start. Over the course of this emotional powerhouse of a novel, Amanda becomes increasingly hostile and alienated—until one night she commits an act that threatens the already fragile bonds of the fledgling family.
 
Set on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, This Is My Daughter is a skillful and sensitive portrayal of the challenges facing modern families from master of the contemporary novel Roxana Robinson, whose acute observations of domestic life invite comparison to John Cheever and Henry James.
 
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About the author

Roxana Robinson (b. 1946) is the author of five novels, most recently Sparta; three short story collections; and the biography Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, the New York Times, the Atlantic, and Best American Short Stories, among other publications. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Robinson teaches in Hunter College’s master of fine arts program and is president of the Authors Guild, the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for writers.
 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Jun 21, 2016
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781504025614
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Contemporary Women
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Roxana Robinson's great gift for the telling detail and strong sense of the emotional shoals lurking just beneath even the calmest surface have inspired comparisons to literary greats like John Cheever, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. In her first novel, we meet Laura, a 29-year-old wife, mother, sister, friend, lover, and erstwhile photographer whose life is painfully out of focus. A month's vacation on the Maine coast with her son, her lover, Ward, and her sister's family is supposed to be an idyllic period of sustenance and calm, but for Laura, who believes that "entropy governed the world, the universe, and the dinner hour," it turns into the ultimate test of her ability to trust herself and others.
With trademark intensity and a deft touch for character and place, Robinson creates a perceptive, believable, and gently humorous portrait of an individual "waiting for something that would set her life in order." Laura is as much a study of light and shadow as the photographs she takes. Beautiful but insecure, talented but unwilling to take risks, loved but unable to make a commitment, she is paralyzed by fear and locked into a stasis that Ward is no longer willing to accept. "You don't dare take a stand on anything," he tells her. "You're so terrified of failure you don't dare do anything." When her estranged husband arrives for a weekend visit, however, the emotional collision rocks Laura's inaction, causing a tiny shake of the kaleidoscope that creates a vastly different pattern. The image is razor sharp at last: "As though she were changing lenses, as though she had suddenly discovered another light source," she sees that her life is her own. That new understanding empowers her to make a symbolic -- and a literal -- leap of faith that saves her own life and the lives of those she loves.
A New York Times Notable Book: Roxana Robinson’s definitive biography of Georgia O’Keeffe is a rich and revealing portrait of the iconic American artist.
 
Artist Georgia O’Keeffe was born into a family of strong Midwestern farmwomen and taught self-reliance at an early age. Coming of age in the modern era, she went on to defy the social conventions of her time and lead a successful and emancipated life full of creativity, feminism, and austerity that has taken on mythic proportion. Roxana Robinson’s multilayered book explores O’Keeffe’s journey to personal and professional independence, the evolution of her art, and her most influential relationships. Written with the cooperation of O’Keeffe’s family, and using sources unavailable during her lifetime, this biography presents the artist’s own voice through her letters to family and friends.
 
Robinson follows O’Keeffe from her childhood on a Wisconsin farm to the center of the New York art scene where she met her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz championed O’Keeffe, exhibiting her work at his gallery and drawing her into his inner circle of early modernists. But O’Keeffe, ever caught between the demands of love and art, left New York to find inspiration in the New Mexico desert where she created some of her most renowned work.
 
This vividly rendered, beautifully written account succeeds in capturing the passions, controversies, and contradictions in the life of an extraordinary woman.
 
Going from peace to war can make a young man into a warrior. Going from war to peace can destroy him.

Conrad Farrell has no family military heritage, but as a classics major at Williams College, he has encountered the powerful appeal of the Marine Corps ethic. "Semper Fidelis" comes straight from the ancient world, from Sparta, where every citizen doubled as a full-time soldier. When Conrad graduates, he joins the Marines to continue a long tradition of honor, courage, and commitment.

As Roxana Robinson's new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad has just returned home to Katonah, New York, after four years in Iraq, and he's beginning to learn that something has changed in his landscape. Something has gone wrong, though things should be fine: he hasn't been shot or wounded; he's never had psychological troubles--he shouldn't have PTSD. But as he attempts to reconnect with his family and his girlfriend and to find his footing in the civilian world, he learns how hard it is to return to the people and places he used to love. His life becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate: he can't imagine his future, can't recover his past, and can't bring himself to occupy his present. As weeks turn into months, Conrad feels himself trapped in a life that's constrictive and incomprehensible, and he fears that his growing rage will have irreparable consequences.
Suspenseful, compassionate, and perceptive, Sparta captures the nuances of the unique estrangement that modern soldiers face as they attempt to rejoin the society they've fought for. Billy Collins writes that Roxana Robinson is "a master at . . . the work of excavating the truths about ourselves"; The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley calls her "one of our best writers." In Sparta, with the powerful insight and acuity that marked her earlier books (Cost, Sweetwater, and A Perfect Stranger, among others), Robinson explores the life of a veteran and delivers her best book yet.
A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2013

In this brilliant, luminous novel, one of our finest realist writers gives us a story of surpassing depth and emotional power. Acclaimed for her lucid and compassionate exploration of the American family, Roxana Robinson sets her new work on familiar terrain—New York City and the Adirondacks—but with Sweetwater she transcends the particulars of the domestic sphere with a broader, more encompassing vision. In this poignant account of a young widow and her second marriage, Robinson expands her scope to include the larger natural world as well as the smaller, more intimate one of the home.

Isabel Green’s marriage to Paul Simmons, after the death of her first husband, marks her reconnection to life—a venture she’s determined will succeed. But this proves to be harder than she’d anticipated, and the challenges of starting afresh seem more complicated in adulthood. Staying at the Simmons lodge for their annual summer visit, Isabel finds herself entering into a set of familial complexities. She struggles to understand her new husband, his elderly, difficult parents and his brother, whose relationship with Paul seems oddly fraught. Furthermore, her second marriage begins to cast into sharp relief the troubling echoes of her first. Isabel’s professional life plays a part as well: a passionate environmental advocate, she is aware of the tensions within the mountain landscape itself during a summer of spectacular beauty and ominous drought.

In her cool, elegant prose, Robinson gracefully delivers a plot that is complex, surprising and ultimately wrenching in its impact. As the strands of family are woven tightly and inevitably together, and as the past painfully informs the present, the vivid backdrop of the physical world provides its own eloquent dynamic. Sweetwater is a stunning achievement by a writer at the peak of her craft.


From the Hardcover edition.
Roxana Robinson's great gift for the telling detail and strong sense of the emotional shoals lurking just beneath even the calmest surface have inspired comparisons to literary greats like John Cheever, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. In her first novel, we meet Laura, a 29-year-old wife, mother, sister, friend, lover, and erstwhile photographer whose life is painfully out of focus. A month's vacation on the Maine coast with her son, her lover, Ward, and her sister's family is supposed to be an idyllic period of sustenance and calm, but for Laura, who believes that "entropy governed the world, the universe, and the dinner hour," it turns into the ultimate test of her ability to trust herself and others.
With trademark intensity and a deft touch for character and place, Robinson creates a perceptive, believable, and gently humorous portrait of an individual "waiting for something that would set her life in order." Laura is as much a study of light and shadow as the photographs she takes. Beautiful but insecure, talented but unwilling to take risks, loved but unable to make a commitment, she is paralyzed by fear and locked into a stasis that Ward is no longer willing to accept. "You don't dare take a stand on anything," he tells her. "You're so terrified of failure you don't dare do anything." When her estranged husband arrives for a weekend visit, however, the emotional collision rocks Laura's inaction, causing a tiny shake of the kaleidoscope that creates a vastly different pattern. The image is razor sharp at last: "As though she were changing lenses, as though she had suddenly discovered another light source," she sees that her life is her own. That new understanding empowers her to make a symbolic -- and a literal -- leap of faith that saves her own life and the lives of those she loves.
Going from peace to war can make a young man into a warrior. Going from war to peace can destroy him.

Conrad Farrell has no family military heritage, but as a classics major at Williams College, he has encountered the powerful appeal of the Marine Corps ethic. "Semper Fidelis" comes straight from the ancient world, from Sparta, where every citizen doubled as a full-time soldier. When Conrad graduates, he joins the Marines to continue a long tradition of honor, courage, and commitment.

As Roxana Robinson's new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad has just returned home to Katonah, New York, after four years in Iraq, and he's beginning to learn that something has changed in his landscape. Something has gone wrong, though things should be fine: he hasn't been shot or wounded; he's never had psychological troubles--he shouldn't have PTSD. But as he attempts to reconnect with his family and his girlfriend and to find his footing in the civilian world, he learns how hard it is to return to the people and places he used to love. His life becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate: he can't imagine his future, can't recover his past, and can't bring himself to occupy his present. As weeks turn into months, Conrad feels himself trapped in a life that's constrictive and incomprehensible, and he fears that his growing rage will have irreparable consequences.
Suspenseful, compassionate, and perceptive, Sparta captures the nuances of the unique estrangement that modern soldiers face as they attempt to rejoin the society they've fought for. Billy Collins writes that Roxana Robinson is "a master at . . . the work of excavating the truths about ourselves"; The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley calls her "one of our best writers." In Sparta, with the powerful insight and acuity that marked her earlier books (Cost, Sweetwater, and A Perfect Stranger, among others), Robinson explores the life of a veteran and delivers her best book yet.
A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2013

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